Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Being out there

When you write a blog or put yourself "out there" in any way and share yourself, your story, and your life (to some degree), you are opening yourself up to judgement, and sometimes criticism, by others.

On my blog and by email I have gotten comments judging me for adopting transracially, for adopting children with HIV, for adopting children with special needs, and for having "too large" of a family.

I have gotten comments judging me for running too much, for racing too much, for not wearing modest enough running clothes, for running on Sundays, and my own personal favorite, for overestimating my potential.

The "old me" used to care too much about what other people thought. I have always been, and probably always will be, a "pleaser". I like to make people happy. I do want people to like me, and I do care about what people think (to a point). I have gotten to a much better place in life where I care a lot less (especially about what people who are not significant in my life think), and I can take criticism and let it roll off my shoulders. My skin has gotten thicker. I have gotten to a place where I can truly say, "I am happy. I am doing what is right for me. I am doing what is right for my family. Nothing else matters." Or, as my awesome Dad says, "No one else gets a vote."

I can click "delete" on a comment or email and move on with my day.

All that said, it doesn't make it any less discouraging to open an email and have some hate mail from someone who read the blog and thinks that you are all sorts of wrong for doing "fillintheblank", and I have had times where I had the urge to just shut it down and write a journal for myself.

But on the flip side of that, I have met so many incredible people through this blog. I have connected with so many runners that inspire me. I have made true friends. I have gotten wonderful opportunities. I get comments and emails from kind and caring people who write just to say something uplifting, or to share their own successes, or to thank me for sharing my story. Some people write and ask for advice and I always write back thoughtfully and give as much help as I can. And I have learned a great deal from the writing of others.

Best of all, I get so much support and encouragement with my running through people I have met through this blog. Most people in my life don't care much about my running. They either think I'm nuts, or the running is unimportant, or they just don't care, or all of the above. It's really nice to have people ask about how your run was on any given day, or ask how your training is going, or care about how you feel or what your goals are. It's nice to have people who ask about and care about something that is important to you.

Also, almost all of the "good luck" and "congratulations" messages I get before and after races are from running friends I have made through this blog. And those messages mean so much! (Especially when I am alone in a hotel, as I often am for races).

I started this blog because writing is how I best process my feelings and express myself, and because I wanted to write about and share my journey as a runner. Becoming a member of the online running community, making so many fun connections, meeting so many great people, and finding so much support was a very unexpected bonus.

So for me, putting myself "out there", and writing this blog is well worth it. And thanks so much to all of you who make it that way.

49 comments:

Jared said...

Your blog is great. Keep it up!

Missy said...

Thank you for your blog and sharing your story with us. I am inspired by your posts but rarely take time to post comments. I am an adoptive mom of 12 who wants to be more active and, dare I say it, a runner, someday. I have to get into shape because I've spent the past 15 years taking care of everyone except ME! If you have words of inspiration for getting started, I'd love to talk!

Julie said...

I love reading your blog and find you to be very inspiring. Reading your blog makes me want to work harder and believe that bigger goals than I believed are possible for me. I just recently ran my first Boston qualifying time last month, something that I didn't think I'd ever be able to do, now I am setting my goals even higher, and I have to say, you are a big reason. I also have some things in common with you as I have 3 children, 2 of whom are adopted and one who has special needs so adoption is very close to my heart too. Keep it up and don't let the "negative comments" keep you down.

Lacey Sue said...

Keep your chin up. Heavenly Father is proud of you, and what you have accomplished. What others, on this earth, think about you- means very little in the eternal scope of things. I think you have done AMAZING things- not only for yourself, but for those AMAZING, beautiful, children you have. Life is about joy- having some, and sharing it with others...you do this. All those who judge you- for whatever reason- need to remember the scripture..."Judge not least ye be judged." Love you lady!

On the Right Track said...

Erin, we all love you and find inspiration from you and your stoires...never stop, please!

kalie said...

Hi Erin! I have never commented but I love reading your blog. I am a reader of four months or so. I think you are incredible and inspiring. In m opinion, if people criticize you, it means you are doing something right. :) Don't stop!

Kalie

credocatholic said...

I wanted to let you know that I have been inspired by reading your blog. Your determination, your dedication, your generosity...wow!

The work that you do for your beautiful children is so important for our whole world. Each one of us should be thanking you everyday for being a shining example of God's love.

Everything you do that enables you to keep on serving God and neighbor is certainly necessary, and I'm glad that you have found that running keeps your battery charged.

Thank you for your witness!

Rene' said...

Love your blog. I have especially enjoyed reading about your running, your goals and your awesome family. keep it up!

BabyWeightMyFatAss said...

Your blog is wonderful. Ignore the haters. :)

{lifeasa}RunningMom said...

I am glad you "put yourself out there" since you have some wonderful and inspirational stories to share. I am constantly amazed by all you can do while raising your family. I don't know how you pull it off. I struggle with just one kiddo in the house. Keep up the great work and keep your heart open. You truly are a blessing and living the life God wanted you to live.

Caroline said...

Dear Erin, none of us deserves mean emails and comments that is for sure. but YOU?! I cannot believe what I am reading. I got some crappy email last week and I was upset a little, we are humans right? To me you are a HERO. For real. I have 2 kids. They are both HEALTHY, thank you God. And guess what? I am ashamed that some days I complain...yep I do that. And you, you have 12! My grand mother had 16 kids. She went in labor 16 times. There is not one person I admire more than her. I do admire other people of course and you are one of them. I have never met you in person but I imagine you to be the kindest most generous person. I just know you are.

Modest clothes? that one made me laugh...seriously...

no more crazy talk about closing this blog missy....
:)

Caroline said...

OH and I did read the review on the Brooks. thank you.
I still dont know if I need the pure flow or cadence. I am afraid to buy the wrong ones and get injured. I cannot afford to buy both and just see, they are too $$ and I have the Ravenna that are still new with under 100 miles on them. It is giving me a headache this whole shoe thing. :)

Ugly said...

Jelous people always are negative and hateful....sometimes put yourself in their shoes....they are miserable, lonely, broke, broken marriages, no 'real' friends, etc....

and they hate someone happy and having goals....

Im a Baptist and we hear the same things at our church....someone complained because a 'newbie' had tatoos....

Im a Christian and Jesus is my Saviour, and I also drink beer....

I run too....

I am 50 and run half's in under 1:20....I hear it too....people ask me if I work? I say yes, I just dont watch tv....

Keep going and good luck at Boston....

Terzah said...

Lordy, there are some haters out there! Do what my boss says to me when we get a snarky or nasty library patron: "Be glad you're not them." And then go out and get revenge by living your best life (which you're doing already!).

kathrynellen said...

Oh my goodness, I couldn't believe it when I read that you get criticism for all those things. You are my inspiration! I tell people about you all the time. Here you are with 12 kids, getting up early, making goals and achieving them, all while giving your best to your children and husband... I think of you and it encourages me to do things I love and not make excuses that I have 4 kids and homeschool them, and "don't have time".... blah, blah! When I read your blog, I realize there are no excuses for not doing what you want to do. Don't shut down your blog... you are amazing and such an inspiration! Thanks for your honesty and encouraging us all to be the best we can be.

Cynthia said...

You inspire me in so many ways. I absolutely love reading your blog. If someone doesn't like it they can just stop reading no need to leave mean comments or send emails.
Thank you for being YOU :)

Annet and Kirk said...

for a brief moment, I thought you were going to say you were stopping... so glad you are not!!

Those are some weird comments - funny how being online means people think they can say things they never would to your face - think about the verse about picking the log out of your own eye before worrying about the speck in others... some of those commenters really need to think about that!

I love your stories, I always love seeing something from you pop up in my blog feed... and I get super excited for you when you race. I feel like I know you, yet we've never met... (though you have met my sister, who's actually not like me at all...) That's the power of blogs!!

Anonymous said...

I am sorry that there are individuals that always try to tear down someone else. I just try to think that there is something going on with them and try to let it go. But that is difficult for me too! I love reading your blog - please don't stop!!! As another adoption worker and marathon runner, you give me hope and inspiration in bOth worlds:) Thank you, carol- WV

9intheSunshine said...

Hi Erin,
I have been reading your blog for a few months but this is the first time I've commented. I just want to say: Ignore the haters!!! They will always be there, spreading around negativity. I am not a runner due to medical issues, but I love living vicariously through running blogs. Your blog is one of my favorites! I am a mom of 7, so your large family life appeals to me as well:) You are an inspiration to so many! Keep on keeping on and enjoy the journey.
~Michelle

Tina @GottaRunNow said...

Just want you to know that I enjoy reading about your running dreams (I think you'll reach them!), the details on your training (Boston is coming!) and your sweet children!

Penny said...

Erin, I admire you for putting it all out there, that is something I can not do for fear I will be judged. I know people can be so mean. I to am a people pleaser and want everyone to like me, so I am very careful what I put on my blog so that I am not judged. That is why I love your blog because your not afraid to put it out there. I wish I could be more like you and some of the other bloggers. I love reading about your family and especially your journey in running,because you have come along way girl and I cant wait to hear all about Boston.

Samantha said...

I cannot imagine people being negative about all of the wonderful children you've adopted or about being a healthy and active mom. You're very inspiring, and clearly so many others think so!

Becky at Prairie Runner said...

I love your blog!! You inspire me to be a better runner and a better person. I don't get negativity. People always have a choice - if they don't like what they are reading then don't have to read it!! Blog on, girl!

Anonymous said...

I'm new to your blog- but LOVE your passion for your children and husband and running. You balance it well and make it work by getting up AT THE CRACK OF DAWN to run, so you don't take away time from your family.

I LOVE that you have adopted kids from different backgrounds, and I'm so very sorry people feel the need to tell you how to live your life.

You inspire me- keep dreaming!!!!!!!
Kelly in Michigan

SWMom said...

I heart you! Your blog has been one of the biggest encouragements in my running! I started running at age 31 and now I'm almost a year later, I am trimming PR's and sporting 2 pairs of Brooks (thanks to you!). As a Mom also through the miracle of adoption, we would love to grow our family and just haven't been able to match, but I whole heartedly support adoption and am proud to call you a friend and a role model! We all get beat up in life sometimes and I agree, your Dad's advice is the best. :) As my husband says, "Keep your bobber up!" Best of luck training for Boston and THANKS!!!!!

Ben & Michelle said...

Keep 'putting it out there' your blog is encouraging, uplifting and a gift for all of us to read....
Thank you for putting yourself out there and giving others a piece of you!

Christina said...

I've learned this lesson repeatedly the hard way - we all will always have 'haters' or 'negative' people that pass through our lives. The trick is being able to shrug it off. I have a hard time with it myself and one of the reasons I quit blogging a long time ago. Facebook is another source of frustration at times. You have to have thick skin to survive the blogging world it seems. One idea is to turn the blog more into a journal where you don't allow comments on individual articles but truly turn it more into a journal and informative writing. Keep a separate page for people to contact you and you can have all of that go to a different email address and you can choose to read it when YOU are in the mood. :-) I think a lot of people are migrating blogs into more "portfolio" type sites as opposed to allowing all of the world just jump down one's throat. But, don't let anyone discourage your or stifle you. It's your site and you know you are awesome! :-)

Lisa@The Daily RUNdown said...

I never understood how a total stranger could pass so much judgement. Especially on a platform such as a blog. They see such a small snapshot of your life, but feel they can advise you on it? It's crazy to me, but the negatives are out there for us to prove wrong, right?
Your awesome and your priorities are so inline, I think you are truly inspirational.

Arica said...

I have been reading your blog for a while now. I am a mom, I'm a mormon and a runner. I only have 3 kiddos and I am amazed at your training and dedication to the sport. Good for you! I appreciate your great example to me and each time I read your blog I know that I can reach my tiny goals because you go for the big one and are successful! Thanks for all you bring to the sport and to mom's everywhere :)

Melissa J. said...

I do not comment often, but I feel compelled to let you know how much I enjoy you blog posts. They inspire me to be the best mom and runner I can be. Your words radiate with positve energy. Please don't let anyone take that away from you.

Lisa said...

I cannot believe ANYONE could ever find a reason to criticize you!
I stumbled upon your blog a couple of months ago and instantly loved it, loved your beautiful family life, and all that you aspire to be.
You are a very positive light. Please do not let these negative people dampen your spirit. There is clearly something lacking in their lives if they feel moved to criticize you of all people!
Thank you for sharing, and putting yourself out there.

Cat said...

I'm sorry - I laughed out loud about the "not modest enough running clothes." Ha. Yes, it would be much more appropriate to run with no skin showing. : /

hahaha

Sorry. :) otherwise loved the post - you know I love hearing your thoughts and plans.

Emz said...

not wearing modest enough running clothes????????????

oh man, if you are not wearing modest enough clothing .. I'm freaking screwed. ;)

you rock Erin.
ignore the haters. - my motto.

Old Runningfox. said...

A great post. Thankfully, since starting my Blog, I've had nothing but positive comments and wonderful support. I've only ever had to delete one post - and I can't even remember why, so obviously didn't let it get to me!
So carry on your inspirational good work Erin, we enjoy reading it as much as you enjoy writing it.

Jill said...

Hopefully from reading all of the comments you know that you are an inspiration to many. I enjoy reading your blog, so thank you for taking the time to write even though it is tough to receive comments that hurt. I'm so glad you found running as a way to bring you happiness and help balance your life.

Anonymous said...

Seriously! I would love to hear about all the good they have done to make this world a better place. Some people have way to much free time and not enough love to fill it.
You are an inspiration!

Karen4Gators said...

Ignore the meanies. You are an incredible, inspiring woman and I enjoy reading your blog.

Molly said...

I really don't understand the haters. I just pity them. You rock chickie, and don't you forget it. : )

LOVE FLOWERS said...

I am also a runner that has to deal with jealous,envious "characters". I am often asked, "How do you have so much time to run?" You don't find time to run-you make time to run through motivation. 4:30 a.m. every morning that's early! More power to you!

God,running,family,goals,reading your blog and daily miles,Erin, creates happiness in my life everyday.

DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY...BE WITH THOSE WHO MAKE YOU SMILE...LAUGH AS MUCH AS YOU BREATHE...LOVE AS MUCH AS YOU LIVE

Erin, keep it up-you inspire me! Good luck in Boston!

Anonymous said...

I am in awe of all your accomplishments, both with running and personally. I cannot believe that anyone would be negative toward you. That's sad. You are an inspiration!

Sameera said...

I wanted to let you know that you have inspired me to start running again. After having my third baby in 2010 i thought it was impossible to run anymore. But when i saw your blog and saw how well you were managing with 12 kids...i knew i was just making excuses.
So just like you, i now wake up at 5:30am, and by the time everyone wakes up, im done! Im following a 10k training program and am able to stick to it because of waking up early...
God bless you and may all your dreams come true...amen.

~R said...

Erin - I am so proud of you! ~R

Annette@(running)In the Right Direction said...

I really love that you wrote this...because I've been feeling a bit uninspired to write about my journey for my next training period. On today's run I was thinking ..."i'm missing a link...something that I enjoyed about this process"...and I think that is putting it in writing and sharing. Its hard to keep up with it and I truly admire you and some other blogs for doing it, and doing it well. Hearing tough things is very tough...something I am still getting used to. I can't even believe you get some of the emails you are saying...I mean do people have any other better things to do with their time????? Its insane. I hope I get to my computer tonight to start posting again...It really helps me to reflect and does feel good to get people that understand behind you rather than those that think you are just plain ole' nuts!

lindsay said...

I admire your ability to "let stuff roll" and not let it bother you - I'm bad about holding on to comments and letting it eat away at me. Not cool!

That's the thing about opinions - everyone has one. No matter what you do, someone out there has the opposite opinion on it. You just can't please everyone (and who cares to, anyway!) :)

Your real friends love you for who you are.

bobbi said...

First off, you are amazing. The running, the mothering, the WHOLE THING. So glad you can ignore the haters, because their hangups are most certainly NOT about you.

Secondly, as a runner, you are in my head more than you know. Lately for me, it's been your posts on how to run faster (as in, to run faster you have to RUN FASTER).

Thanks for all you write here. I may be a horrible commenter, but I read. Always.

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

i couldn't agree with more with so much of how you feel and what you said. i know these people don't know me and yet it still stings...until i send a little time with David and he reminds me whose opinions really matter.

putting ourselves out there is scary, but we help and inspire so many by taking the plunge

Laura said...

I am having a really hard time wrapping my head around the criticism for adopting trans-racially and special needs or hiv kids... what?! So glad you can let it roll off and continue to use your blog to share and journal and (hopefully) find lots of support along the way!!

Suz and Allan said...

Erin, I honestly hope for every one of those comments you get 100 more that are uplifting and positive. I always enjoy reading what you have to say and I think it's heroic that you are able to balance your sweet family, running, and everything else you have to do in a normal day!

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